why was it shark week on the obx?
We all know that sharks swim in the ocean and we don’t really like to think about it. But with six people bitten by sharks along the NC coast in the last three weeks, it’s kinda hard NOT to. Experts (real and imagined) are working overtime to explain why things are getting sharkier around here, and this piece by Brian Clark Howard in National Geographic offers up some ideas, as well as pointers for reducing your chances of being shark bait.
“From 2005 to 2014, there were a total of 25 shark attacks in North Carolina. This year’s incidents are part of a rising trend in the U.S. and much of the world over the past century (learn more about attacks). Overall, however, they remain relatively rare; an ocean swimmer has only a one in 11.5 million chance of being bitten by a shark, according to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
(Updated June 29, 9:30 a.m.
“Two more swimmers have been bitten by sharks off the North Carolina coast. That makes six shark attacks in the state in the last three weeks.)
Why are so many recent attacks happening in North Carolina?
The Tarheel State typically gets one to two shark attacks a year but has had four this year, says Frank J. Schwartz, a shark biologist with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. There were four bites there last year and 55 documented shark attacks in the state since 1905.
The incidents are heavily dependent on weather and currents and are much more likely when the water temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) and when strong currents flow north along the coast, bringing bait fish. This year, those conditions appeared in April, and sharks soon followed, coming from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.”